The troubled 25-year-old son of Lanell Latta, who was stabbed to death in Sydney's Northern Beaches on Monday, has been charged with her murder.
It is the culmination of what locals regard as Joel Woszatka's dark time, with a family friend telling Daily Mail Australia it was not uncommon to see him strolling down the street at 9am holding a long neck beer in a paper bag, and doing the same in the evening.
The man said people had been 'trying to help Joel for a while, but it was having very little effect'.
'Neighbours would see him walking along the street at 9am with a long neck in a paper bag, and he would do the same in the evening,' he said.
Joel Woszatka (pictured), 25, was arrested and charged over the stabbing murder of his mother, 50-year-old Lanell Latta, as it is revealed community concerns about his behaviour had been growing
Ms Latta (pictured), 50, was found stabbed to death in her rented home on Sydney's northern beaches on Monday morning
Police are investigating whether drugs, particularly ice, have played a role in the murder of Ms Latta (Ms Latta pictured left, Woszatka second from right)
Local children who would previously say hello to the 25-year-old were reportedly now afraid to approach him, but the man, who declined to be identified, said he was not entirely to blame.
Police are investigating any link to drug use, particularly ice, in relation to the murder, with Ms Latta's family friend noting the drug was becoming an issue in the affluent suburb.
'The problem is, there are a number of kids who lose their way in Avalon to drugs and alcohol - and just as many can go on to lead very successful lives,' he said.
He said since the killing had made headlines, debate had been raging about what could be done to tackle ice use among the local youth.
'Ice needs to be wiped off the face of the earth,' the man said.
'Addicts are just the victims of the dealers.'
It is believed the Ms Latta was renting the two-bedroom house she died at from Australian supermodel Gemma Ward
Ms Latta was described as a 'hippie chick' who had a 'beautiful smile'. A family friend said she wouldn't harm a flea
Australian supermodel Gemma Ward and her husband David Letts have rented out the two-bedroom beach home since buying it last year for $1.6 million
Ms Latta was remembered as 'a beautiful spirit' with an unforgettable smile
Ms Latta, 50, was found dead at her rental property on Marine Parade near Avalon Beach at 10.45am, NSW police said.
Joel Woszatka, 25, was arrested in nearby Ruskin Rowe, soon after police were called to his mother's home.
Officers spoke with him before putting him in a paddy wagon and taking the man to Manly Police station.
He has been charged with murder and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Police are investigating whether drugs, particularly ice, have played a role in the killing of Ms Latta,Nine News reported.
A witness to Woszatka's arrest told the broadcaster officers and the man had been conversing peacefully before he was put into the paddy wagon.
'He didn't put up a fight, no carrying on,' the man said.
Pictured: A family member of Ms Latta breaks down after the mother's body was discovered
Ms Latta's family friend told Daily Mail Australia Lanell, who worked as a hairdresser, was a 'hippie chick' with a 'beautiful smile'.
'She was a beautiful person who couldn't harm a flea,' he said.
Ms Latta was the daughter of Australian surfing champion Frank Latta, who was equally as highly regarded for his surfboard shaping and design skills.
She had been renting her Avalon home from Australian supermodel Gemma Ward, who expressed her shock to The Daily Telegraph.